No. 1 in the No. 2 business

I feel like I have a lot of adventures I didn’t sign up for. This is yet another. Although 27 years ago when my husband and I opted to be homeowners I suppose I should have been warned. Though as first time buyers, whoever knows what they’re in for?

Ahh, the good old septic tank. Old being the operative key here. It’s one of those things I never wanted to know anything about, but I’ve become quite well versed in the subject. Being a stay-at-home wife and mother all these years I have been the one to coordinate efforts on the subject. Years of scheduling pumping and breaking the bad news to my husband have certainly made me an expert. I was the first to find out the antiquated, cement baffle deteriorated. My husband had to put in a “manhole” cover because we had to hose out the filter so often we got tired of digging it up.

I learned, after 20 years as laundry queen, powder detergents are detrimental to the whole system, turning to clay in the tank after the inside cleaning was done. When I started using liquid detergents, we didn’t have to clean the filter as often. I tried to tell my husband he was rrrrrright, but with his ADHD, he didn’t hear my confession. Or love is blind, however you choose to view his denial that I could do anything wrong.

But lately, things have seemed amiss. It was probably past due for a pumping out when I called Economy Septic, the company I have always used. They’re the ones who checked it out when the junction box lid deteriorated. The owner at that time suggested we find another lid unless we wanted to pay him $20,000 to replace everything. We had a random, flat chunk of cement my husband stuck over it and it worked like a champ.

Until, as I mentioned, lately. The gurglings seemed louder than usual. When Economy Septic came out, they dug up the junction box. The good news is lid my husband set over it many years ago, was completely intact. The junction box itself was nothing but crumbled memories. He told us the only reason it hadn’t backed up into the house was because we didn’t have nine people living here. That and good back yard genes. Our ground in this area is very rocky and absorbs water very quickly.

It’s always a good sign when your septic guys are excited about seeing your cement system, because they know it’s an easy fix. If it had been newer, with PVC pipe, they’d have had to replace the whole thing. One of the things I’ve always loved about this company is that they’re fair and reasonable in their prices. Even under the new owner, who learned the craft under the former owner, they don’t do more than is needed. A person’s got to appreciate that in a company. Especially, with issues of which one knows nothing about, but learns as she goes.

I never went into home ownership wanting to know everything there was to learn about septic systems, but we’ve learned to take the good with the bad. I want to impart my wisdom to my readers as my public service for the month: Use liquid detergent. DO NOT use enzymes, you don’t want the waste broken down finer because it goes out into the drainfield and eventually clogs it. DO get your septic pumped every three to five years.

And if you haven’t done any of those things, call Economy Septic – they’re No. 1 in the No. 2 business, after all.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing on her website, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Life section.